Old Fashioned Knights in the Modern World
A guest post by Victor Vogt.
Don Quixote spent his days poring over old books on knighthood, chivalry and the fine art of war, and when the light grew dim and the candles went out he spent his nights dreaming of an era that time had no more use for. His dreams became delusions and he let himself get lost in them. By the call of destiny or madness, Don Quixote went chasing after the adventurous life of a noble knight, righting wrongs and protecting the weak, defending the honor of young maidens and upholding the codes of chivalry. More importantly, Don Quixote was preserving the noble European tradition of knighthood.
He encountered bandits and sheep herders, prostitutes and inn keepers, romantics and thieves and sturdy windmills. He took many beatings and endured many defeats before he returned to his humble estate for refuge and solace only to wake up one morning and find his library burned and sealed up by his niece and the village priest, to protect him from the temptations of his own madness.
The story of “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha” was written by Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century, a commentary on the changing world of his time, a time that no longer had any need for knights and chivalric codes of honor. Don Quixote’s story has been called the funniest yet saddest story ever told, and it just might be, for what else can the world do but laugh at fools that want to take us back to better, more nobler times? We either laugh at them or cry with them, but very few will be called by destiny or madness to join them.
However, should you, fine noble readers, find yourself among the few nostalgic traditionalists longing to return the world to a better state and believe that the traditions of your culture and faith are worth preserving and restoring, then you must first start with the preservation of chivalric codes of honor. You must hold yourself to a higher standard than the rest of society.
You must think better, behave better and live better than the rest. You must live a life anchored by strong principles and you must stand firm in defending those principles. You will not make excuses or try to explain them, you will simply live by them and push back anyone who tries to take these principles away from you. For to lose them is to lose your honor, and in the world we live in today, where honor is surrendered in order to maintain a job or to board an airplane, you will come to realize that the respect of men is earned by those who stand their ground for the things they believe in.
Honor is not easily restored once lost and it is not something that can be taken away – it can only be surrendered by you. The road to restoring honor is long and hard and requires the act of many noble deeds before you can get that simple nod of approval, that subtle gesture of acceptance that men exchange, that communicates the respect of men of honor.
Honor, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is honesty, fairness or integrity to ones beliefs and actions: a code of honor. The code I give you here is an ancient one. It is the code of the Templars, that noble brotherhood entrusted to protect the pilgrims in Outremer. I found it several years ago on the web site of the Sovereign Military Order of the Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem.
The words were so beautifully written and inspiring that I made a copy of them and have carried them with me in a notebook ever since. My actions have not always been noble ones and my behavior not always honorable. I have, in my own ways, aspired for greatness, though few can testify as witnesses to those rare moments of my life.
I do not think that these exact words are still there on that site. I have not visited it in many years. I am sure they have been replaced with more modern speech, but I preserved their code for you here, that you, modern knights, might find inspiration in an ancient code.
The Knights Code
The foundation of virtue, one who seeks out the truth within him or herself will surely develop other knightly virtues, such as justice, courage, strength, and humility. Without truth there is no light, but rather the spiritual darkness and self-delusion and self-deception which must surely lead to other vices.
The standard against we measure ourselves, and measured by others. It is a treasure which if kept grows in value and grandeur, but once squandered can but rarely be regained and only at great cost in time and effort. The knight’s word must be more certain and sure than any written contract. Let every knight and dame consider carefully before making an oath, and never do so lightly or without due reflection. But rather let every knight strive to fulfil every oath undertaken or stand bereft of honor.
Since the immemorial the knight’s duty has been to protect the innocent from harm and to punish the guilty, as is symbolized by the sword. In past times, fulfilment of this duty often required physical combat, today the battles are fought differently but are no less important. In all areas of life the knight must strive, so far as possible, to fight injustice and help the right to prevail.
Also known as largesse, the knight will seek to aid those in need, giving succor and assistance to such as may need it, giving as his or her means permit and without ostentation or display. True charity encompasses more than the material. A word of encouragement can mean more than jewels. The spirit of charity may cause the knight to forgive a wrong done to himself if the act is truly repented. Charity will help the knight to avoid the errors of gluttony and avarice.
The brother and sister of honor, when once a knight, has made a commitment, let him or her not waive or withdraw, but realize that a knight does not compromise his or her loyalty, let no such commitment be lightly made.
The knight is charged with fighting for the right and good, and thus destined to face many opponents. The battles may be of the body, and the dangers faced by the knight may be physical; but courage is as greatly in demand with the more subtle opponent of the mind or spirit. Whichever circumstances the knight enters, he or she must always face the enemy with valor.
The knight which looks upon his or her life without evasion or self-deception, and exercises the virtue of truth, will surely be humbled by the vast gulf that lies between the chivalrous ideal and the reality of what is. Thus chastened, the knight will surely avoid the errors of pride.
The knight and dame strive always to do and be their best, no matter what the area of endeavor. They do so not for pride’s sake, but rather to infuse even the most mundane task with nobility and thus uplift themselves.
A man may be ennobled by a prince; but a soul can thus be elevated only by living according to standards higher than those of the common man. To achieve the chivalrous ideal is not possible; but the very striving uplifts the spirit and purifies the soul; and marks the true knight.
The knight or dame must be true to that which he or she believes in above all else, for with faith comes strength against every adversity. Faith is the lifeblood of courage and nobility, without it, life has no meaning. With faith, no force, not even death can defeat the knight.
“Non nubis, Domine, non nubis,
sed nomini tuo da glorium!”
Modern Knights – Let’s hold ourselves to a higher standard and strive for excellence in our lives as the noble knights of old. Give respect where it is due and help and encourage other men to achieve greatness. We can leave behind the chaos and perversion of the modern world if we can give the modern man a noble purpose and an honorable pursuit, and there is nothing more honorable today than the preservation of principles and values that built or civilization.
Our quest is the restoration and preservation of the traditional family – for without those families there is only a nation in chaos and we will have more of the perversions we face now. Be true to your principles and keep your word. Protect innocence and punish the wicked. Live by the golden rule but make fools of those that wish to force their beliefs on you. Stand your ground with courage and nobility and live a happy, prosperous life of honor – a life that other men will wish for and strive for, then we are on our way to reversing the destruction of our once great societies.